Last week I finally got all my drains out--yea! It has been wonderful to sleep at night without laying on them, & feeling them tug and pull on my irritated skin. I was also able to see Dr. Prystas on Friday to get the game plan. It was kind of a difficult appointment for me. I think I was hoping that I'd go in & she'd tell me all the things they were going to do that would control the cancer & guarantee that I'd stay healthy--& that's not how the appointment went. Basically, we're just going into a holding pattern. She has put me on Tamoxifen, which is an anti-estrogen, & has been shown to inhibit growth for both breast & ovarian cancer. She's not sure why the CA-125 levels went up--it could be due to the surgery. I'm learning that the CA-125 tests can be somewhat fickle, but it's the best thing they have at this point for helping to diagnose & track ovarian cancer & it's treatment. It's difficult to determine what is "normal" for a person. Some people may have a CA-125 level that's in the "normal" range & can be full of cancer. Others may have a higher level, and be doing fine. We're not really sure where I am cancer-wise at this point--we just have to wait. I'll either remain fairly healthy & do well, or the cancer will return in the same place, or somewhere else. They're not going to go "looking" for cancer by doing all sorts of tests--it's unnecessary, the tests also have certain risks & it can make me even crazier than I sometimes am at this point. Dr. Prystas said that if the cancer returns, I'll know it--the symptoms will come back. If it does return, then we'll deal with that particular problem at that time. We asked about doing a "maintenance" chemo every 4-6 weeks, as that had been mentioned at one point. She said she'd rather not do that at this time. If you do that, at some point your body just has enough of it, & you also develop allergies to the medication and/or it just doesn't work as effectively the more you have it. She'd rather wait & use the chemo meds if they're needed again. Soooo...I've started the Tamoxifen & will wait 2 months before going in to have my CA-125 levels checked again--I think it might be a difficult 2 months. Thankfully, summer is almost here & the boys will be home and busy & time might fly by really fast.
Years ago, I read Lance Armstrong's book about his battle with cancer. I remember him writing that the chemo/radiation treatments weren't nearly as hard as the waiting he did for the year after he was finished. When you're doing your chemo treatments you're so focused & feel as if you're actually "working" on killing the cancer cells. I can see that just waiting & watching for symptoms is going to be pretty tough mentally & emotionally. But I've decided that in most ways, nothing has really changed...I am still entirely dependent on my Heavenly Father. He is in charge--He has always been in charge--I've just deluded myself into thinking that I've been in charge for the last 46 years. That doesn't mean that I'm not doing everything I can to get and stay healthy--I'm trying to make changes in my diet, my environment, my attitude, how I spend my time & energy. But I have to not waste my mental & emotional energy by worrying & giving in to my fears of "what if". I'm going to try to just go forward & enjoy this summer as much as possible. Jarett is graduating from Weber this week & will be heading off to BYU-Provo this fall. Kali is staying in Logan & working for the summer, but not too much...I'm hoping to be seeing quite a bit of her. She has promised to come & help me with the spring yardwork in the next few weeks. Hunter & Braedon will be busy with camps, soccer, basketball & baseball...& we have a few family reunions to attend. Vern and Kali are heading to Alaska on a road trip in June. It promises to be a busy summer & I'm excited about it, & looking forward to feeling well. I've decided that I'm not going to worry about updating this blog each week. If anything happens before my appointment with Dr. Prystas the middle of July, I'll write about it..but I'm hoping that I won't be writing before then.
The scriptural reference I'm trying to engrave in my brain for the next couple of months is this from John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Elder Holland once said that this may be one of the Savior's commandments that is almost universally disobeyed. I know that faith & fear cannot coexist together, & that my Savior wants me to be happy & joyful--this is my goal for the summer (and for whatever time He continues to grant me!). I am so thankful to Vern & our children, Mom & Dad, my brothers & sister, Vern's family & all our extended family members, my ward family, my Ogden Valley family and all my dear, dear friends throughout the world who have supported and sustained me with their fasting & prayers, their letters & gifts, their kind words and acts of service throughout the last 8 months. How can I ever repay what you have given me? You truly are "angels" who have been sent to watch over & minister to my needs. I love you, & I also pray for you--I know that I'm not the only one who has gone through challenges this past year-- we've all had them--mine have just been more visible than yours. Thank you for being there for me. My love & prayers are always with you.--Kim
Kim was diagnosed last Thursday, September 16, 2010 with ovarian cancer. As Kim's Family, Friends, Neighbors and Fans - we have started this blog to help share information, updates, support, and love with each other during her next few months of surgery, treatment and healing. We will try to update it whenever we receive information. Please feel free to leave a comment expressing your support, love, and encouragement anytime - as that is how we will all grow and strengthen each other - especially Kim and her family. We love you Kim, and our faith, prayers, and total support and dedication are with you as you embark on this "Journey"!